Star Showbiz: What have you done in 2018?
Pooja Sengupta: This year has been a very busy year for me. I had choreographed an event in January. That was a special event. Then I was regularly busy with other events.
Star Showbiz: Have you done any work abroad?
Pooja Sengupta: Yes, I had to go to Philippines in April.
Star Showbiz: What was the work there about?
Pooja Sengupta: We were the first Bangladeshis to be called there. We choreographed Nandini there. It was also premiered there. It was in tribal language. We have presented the songs in tribal languages by Kazi Nazrul. I also went to China. I was the first Bangladeshi dancer to take part in the International Dance Education Conference in Dunhuang, China. Around eight universities have stood with me, which is a huge gain for me.
Star Showbiz: What was your goal for this event?
Pooja Sengupta: We tried to bring our tribal culture to the mainstream media. Philippines has many tribes like Bangladesh and they have thoroughly enjoyed this.
Star Showbiz: What else have you done in 2018?
Pooja Sengupta: We did a great project in Hatirjheel's Waterness theme. Nothing like this has ever happened in Bangladesh before. I also did Ananya Shagarkanya for Channel i. People complained that there is not any good dance programmes on TV. I introduced Turangomi to change this view,
Star Showbiz: Where do you get the inspiration to do these?
Pooja Sengupta: People have an aim in life. My aim is to make dance an industry in Bangladesh. You could say, my aim is my inspiration.
Star Showbiz: So, is your aim to make dance an industry in Bangladesh?
Pooja Sengupta: By saying industry, I don't only mean for dance. Many versatile professions will be created. Agencies will be created. Then, people will be interested to invest in dancing. I don't have many goals, I have only one. I have been working towards these goals from the beginning.
Star Showbiz: Do you not work outside of Dhaka?
Pooja Sengupta: I had an opportunity to work outside of Dhaka this year. It was a work by Prothom Alo. I was able to see how dancers outside Dhaka work. I learned what to do for them and what to learn from them in that event. It was quite interesting for me.
Star Showbiz: What are your future plans for dancing?
Pooja Sengupta: I want to take Turongomi to a good position. Although this is an art, the business part of it cannot be neglected. Otherwise, it will become only dependent.
Star Showbiz: Who has impacted your work?
Pooja Sengupta: No one has impacted my work. This is because; my plan from the beginning was to work in a different theme.
Star Showbiz: I want to ask again, how do you get so much inspiration?
Pooja Sengupta: I have many inspirations. Rabindranath Tagore is my main inspiration. He was an incredible choreographer. This can be easily concluded by watching his dance dramas. My other inspirations are: Uday Shankar, Biju Maharaj, Pina Bausch, Akram Khan, Bulbul Chowdhury.
Star Showbiz: Do you follow them?
Pooja Sengupta: I have followed their live's struggles. I have taken inspiration from their lives' stories, but never followed their work. I work with my own theme.
Star Showbiz: Why is Pooja different from the rest?
Pooja Sengupta: I have never thought like this. I don't think that I am different from the rest. I think I'm like the others. I try to have good relations with the people of my generation. When I go abroad, I never say I am from Turongomi. I say that I'm from Bangladesh, I'm Bangladeshi. Other than that, the people I work together with, we are all a family, one identity, one stage. So, if anyone insults one of the artists, I myself feel very bad.
Star Showbiz: Then, what is the difference between you and others?
Pooja Sengupta: There may be a difference in one place. For example my inspirations are Biju Maharaj or Akram Khan. But I have never wanted to be them. I have always wanted to be Pooja Sengupta. Perhaps, I am different from others in this way.
Star Showbiz: What is your advice for the young people?
Pooja Sengupta: Young people are doing good work now. Parents are also supportive, which is an added bonus for them. It was not like that in my time. And there is only one advice; no one should want to be like me. Everyone should make their own identity.
Star Showbiz: How does it feel to be in Star Showbiz's special 12?
Pooja Sengupta: I feel very good. This is a big deal for me.
Star Showbiz: Thank you.
Pooja Sengupta: Happy new year to the Star Showbiz family!
Interviewed by Robiul Kamal
Transcribed by Amina Hossian